The White House today launched a website at which the public can search through visitor records, Office of Government Ethics travel reports and Lobbying Disclosure Act data.
The new Ethics.gov also includes Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act data, Federal Election Commission individual contribution reports, Federal Election Commission candidate reports and Federal Election Commission committee reports.
It’s quite user friendly. For example, putting Charles Ogletree into the search reveals that the Harvard professor who held onto the President Obama video now making the rounds has been to the White House 14 times in Obama’s term (15 visits are listed, yet two fell on the same day for the same event).
Nine of those meetings were directly with Obama; two of those were labeled as holiday receptions and one was a reception for new Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. One meeting, in August 2010, was with senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
The latest meeting listed with the president is Nov. 9, 2011. The release of appointment information has a lag time of about three months.
The name Derrick A. Bell only appears as entering on the White House tours twice at the end of 2010.
More than three years into his term, President Obama framed the new website as a “We Can’t Wait” initiative making good on his promise to increase government transparency.
“President Obama promised he would ‘create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable, and downloadable format,'” the White House said in a fact sheet announcing the launch. “Today, with the launch of www.Ethics.gov, he’s delivering on that promise.”
It follows the launches of Data.gov, Recovery.gov and USASpending.gov.